Nero Apparente 1 (2020)
108 x 48 in(275 x 122 cm)
Mixed Media, Installation, Sound, Dry palm fronds, Acrylic on burnt wood
During summer 2019, while I was working on this painting, my father said he liked where it was heading. Then, a month after, he suddenly passed.
When I went back to Paestum, my hometown, I collected some of the last leaves my dad trimmed off his beloved ornamental plants in our garden. They were still piled up in the corner, just like he had recently left them. Mostly cycad leaves, scaly with the leaflets, along with some single queen palm fronds, heavy and thick, that my dad would have put in this beautiful vase he bought in Yugoslavia, adding to the ongoing assemblage. Out from the pile I selected around 50 leaves, treated them, painted them and stored them in his car to let them dry until I could later carefully pack them and ship them to Los Angeles.
Once I got the leaves safe and sound, some of the black paint had chipped off bringing back the original color and some of the spiky leaflets had fallen off the stems; all these little events are part of what I now call “journey of my father’s leaves’’ suspended over the triptych. I integrated the leaves as an extension of the thick and sharp scar-like lines I had previously painted onto the wood panels.
Someone told me “it seems like a ghostly and stubborn piece in nature, like a shadow that has ben unwillingly cast into the light”. As I am experiencing what it means to rise from the ashes, this piece is about pain, loss and the preservation of love and memory; it is about all the little steps in the bigger thing we must progress through; which is as personal as it is collective.